Violence Prevention Program
Violence has emerged as one of the central public health problems of our time. Violence takes many forms: between intimate partners, the physical and emotional abuse of children and elders, and between strangers. Each type of violence provides specific opportunities and strategies for prevention.
The Epidemiology and Prevention for Injury Control Branch (EPIC), Violence Prevention Unit (VPU), seeks to address violence through shifting cultural norms, policies, and practices to create a climate free from violence. Rather than focusing on individuals and victims, the VPU’s strength and imperative is in community and population-based prevention focusing on preventing violence before it is initiated, and critical referral to services for those at risk, as opposed to an approach which concentrates on service provision after victimization has occurred. This primary prevention public health approach is a systematic process that promotes healthy behaviors and environments, and reduces the likelihood or frequency of intimate partner violence and sexual violence. Primary prevention is distinguished from secondary prevention because it explicitly focuses on action before there is a threat of violence.
The overall mission of the VPU is to “provide leadership in the application of public health principles and practices to prevent violent (intentional) injuries.” The goal of the VPU is to “conduct epidemiological investigations; collaborate with statewide constituencies in building capacity and resources for violence prevention efforts; and to develop, implement and evaluate violence prevention projects and policies.” Although the VPU addresses varied violence prevention issues, current projects focus primarily on the prevention of violence against women.